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“And to those who believe that travel is expensive, I say try a routine that kills you far more quickly”

I enjoy traveling. That’s an understatement. Traveling is an integral part of living a fruitful life, the type of life I always wanted to live. It’s my dream, and I’m living it. The quotidian routine of my life in Chicago immensely bores me. I don’t wish to be immobile like a tree, staying in the same place and doing the same thing. That routine would kill me. The only thing worse could be being buried alive. My soul feeds on the excitement of immersing myself into a culture of different people with new scenery and a different language and customs and experiencing the mystique and adventure of leaving my mark on these different places. Traveling is my spiritual remedy.

Some countries are to be flown over, and others to transit through, but only a few deserve to see every city in them. And this year, the Angel of Good Fortune allowed me to visit Italy again. The land of the Roman Empire and Julius Caesar, of gondolas and Venice, of beautiful churches and villages, of gorgeous vineyards, of a language so beautiful sounding that swear words sound harmonious, of unique people, and of delicious food. I love Italy and its history.

After a 20-hour flight from the US to Italy through Jordan and Turkey, I arrived in the handsome city of Rome. Upon stepping on the stair car, I felt the wind in the City of Saints and God. It was a sunny day and a clear sky where I can see the heavens. A few steps inside the ground terminal, a blue sign caught my eye. Written in an emotive two words that announces the way to get your passport, “Passport Control”. It reminded me of a similar sign I saw in Malta’s airport.


Malta’s airport

In an ephemeral way and verisimilitude association of the word “beautiful”, the charm of a foreign place develops from the simple idea of novelty and change.

Beauty is located in specific areas: in the ending of “O” in Controllo and “I” in Passaporti and their repetitions. The bequeathed Arabic words in the Maltese language of “Wara” and “S-Sarfra”, which mean “Behind” and “Yellow”. The signs present another history and mind-set.

The art of traveling includes all the small details of unaided discovery. It is learning from an absent teacher.

Passport Control


This time, “Controllor passporti” roused in me genuine feeling of a new imagination and a new reminiscence. It offered the first confirmation of my arrival. It was a symbol of being free like a bird to live how I want and travel where I want, thus, an exclusive emphasis on a new journey about to begin. The sign strongly suggested, despite its simplicity, that the country that lies beyond the passport control is in ways opening the door to a new experience of a lifetime.

Standing in the line waiting to be stamped so I can enter, I felt anxious but inquisitively interested in seeing all of Italy. A few minutes later, my passport was stamped and ready to go.

Every travel carries in its train some unpleasant moments. I walked to the luggage area and picked up my belongings, and then I took a few steps to the exchange booth. I soon discovered the sign of fun came with a large price tag. I exchanged $200 for 130 euro. Oops!

I scolded to myself, “this trip is going to be way too expensive!” But I knew it was going to be worth it!


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* Special thanks to Alin de Botton who enriched my life through his book “The Art of Travel